Learning Resource Type

Lesson Plan

Climate Trackers

Subject Area





In this lesson, the students will use the technology resource Mission:Biomes to research and gather data for precipitation and temperatures for assigned biomes.  The students will use the data to create a bar graph to display climate data for each biome.  

This lesson was created as part of the 2016 NASA STEM Standards of Practice Project, a collaboration between the Alabama State Department of Education and NASA Marshall Space Flight Center.

    Mathematics (2019) Grade(s): 3


    For a given or collected set of data, create a scaled (one-to-many) picture graph and scaled bar graph to represent a data set with several categories.

    Unpacked Content



    • Data set
    • Scale
    • Picture graph
    • Scaled bar graph
    • Category
    • Probability


    Students know:
    • Strategies for collecting, organizing, and recording data in picture graphs and bar graphs.
    • Describe and interpret data on picture and bar graphs.
    • Strategies for solving addition and subtraction one-And two-step problems.


    Students are able to:
    • Collect and categorize data to display graphically.
    • Draw a scaled picture graph (with scales other than 1) to represent a data set with several categories.
    • Draw a scaled bar graph (with scales other than 1) to represent a data set with several categories.
    • Determine simple probability from a context that includes a picture.
      Example: A bar graph displays data to represent students' favorite colors with data showing 4 students choose red, 11 students choose blue, 2 students choose green, and 4 students choose purple. If Jamal is a student in the class, what do you think his favorite color might be? Why?
    • Solve one-And two-step "how many more" and "how many less" problems using information presented in scaled graphs.


    Students understand that:
    • Questions concerning mathematical contexts can be answered by collecting and organizing data scaled pictographs and bar graphs.
    • Understand that logical reasoning and connections between representations provide justifications for solutions.
    Science (2015) Grade(s): 3


    Collect information from a variety of sources to describe climates in different regions of the world.

    Unpacked Content



    • Evaluate
    • Climates
    • Regions
    • Reliable media
    • Sources


    Students know:
    • Climate describes a range of an area's typical weather conditions and the extent to which those condition change over the years.
    • Books and other reliable media provide information that can be used to describe climates in different regions of the world.
    • Variations in climates within different regions of the world.


    Students are able to:
    • Identify reliable resources for gathering information.
    • Identify the different regions of the world and their climates.
    • Evaluate information in the resources.
    • Use information to describe the climates in different regions and their patterns.


    Students understand that:
    • Patterns in climate can be used to make predictions about typical weather conditions in a region.

    Scientific and Engineering Practices

    Obtaining, Evaluating, and Communicating Information

    Crosscutting Concepts


    Primary Learning Objectives

    The students will be able to recall information that they have previously learned about weather patterns.

    The students will be able to gather data for yearly measurements of precipitation and temperature for various biomes of the world.

    The students will be able to create bar graphs to display collected data.

    The students will be able to use their bar graphs to compare biomes.


    Before Activity

    Display pictures of each biome. Have students identify the characteristics of each based on the picture available on the Mission: Biomes site.

    During Activity

    Break students into groups (3 or 4). Assign each group a biome for which they will be gathering data.  

    Students are to use the website Mission: Biomes to gather data for the yearly temperature and precipitation of their assigned biome.  

    After Activity

    The students will use the gathered data to create 2 bar graphs. The first graph will display the lowest and highest amounts of precipitation recorded for their biome.  The second graph will display the lowest and highest temperatures recorded for the biome. 

    The students will present their data to the class.  

    The students will compare their biomes based on the information gathered and make predictions about what type of living things would be found in each biome.

    Assessment Strategies

    Student’s will be assessed using the game, The Great Graph Match. Students will compare gathered data to data presented in quiz to determine correct graphs.


    Students can research and graph more than biome.


    Students who need extra support should be placed in groups with teammates sensitive to the needs of that student.

    The teacher may need to more closely supervise groups that contain students who are struggling with the concept.


    Approximate Duration

    Total Duration

    61 to 90 Minutes

    Background and Preparation


    Climate is the description of a long-term weather pattern of weather in a particular area.

    Climate includes temperature, precipitation, and other measures of weather.

    A biome is a community of plants and animals living together in a certain climate.

    Materials and Resources

    Materials and Resources

    • Pictures of the following biomes: 
      • tundra-shrub land
      • rainforest
      • grassland
      • desert
      • temperate deciduous forest
      • coniferous forest
    • Chart paper 
    • Crayons
    • Devices that allow students access to
    • Interactive white board
    • Digital projector

    Technology Resources Needed